We were saddened to hear of the passing of Kenny Rogers, who died from natural causes on March 20, 2020. Not only was Rogers a country music icon, he was something of an icon for Variety St. Louis as well.
Back in 2001, Rogers performed as the headliner for our annual Dinner with the Stars. He was very involved with the fundraising portion of the evening, giving to help Variety Kids while encouraging members of the audience to do so as well.
“Kenny kept throwing out $100 bills into the audience to entice them to donate it to Variety and add some more!” Variety Chief Executive Officer Jan Albus recalls. “He performed his hits and it was a stellar sold-out night.”
Jan also remembers that Rogers was very hands-on about making sure the event went off without a hitch, meeting with her in a local coffee shop to discuss the show. Rogers also came into town a few months early to shoot promos for the event and was even interviewed by Variety Kids.
“He said that he was not a great singer and, if I wanted that, he suggested that ‘Vince Gil would be your man,’” says Jan. “Then he said, ‘but if you want an entertainer, I’m your man!’”
Thank you, Kenny Rogers, for entertaining us for so many years, and for making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities!